mene-mene references

'in a moment'

Julie Swan 2012

terracotta/iron oxide/gold and copper patina

h.77cm x 44cm SOLD


The first work expresses a sense of beginning .. a laying down of foundation .. to be and not to avoid .. a state of gathering together. Of beginnings  endings and consequences .. and finally it explores a preparedness to express the abstract or unrecognised as an external experience for others to share and validate.

The figure is still and focussed. The three birds hover above and represent opportunity. They are knowledge and are always there .. but they wait. The figure is suspended, listening and preparing. The hands are still but ready. The figure is 'in the moment'


Julie Swan 2012

terracotta/iron oxide/gold and bronze patina

h.77cm x w.65cm SOLD


The second work explores what it is to be .. just 'before' a choice is made. The figure is bound by ties of restraint, or fear or lack of knowledge. The bow is held ready to be lifted. The disguise is in place. The joker can choose to lift off the mask of pretence or remain in a state of avoidance and laugh off the opportunity till another day.  A breath is taken in and a decision is made. The internal is transformed into an external experience.


Julie Swan 2012
terracotta/iron oxide/gold and copper patina
h.40cm x w.60cm SOLD


The third work explores the act of coming to terms with and acceptance of the need for natural order. The figure lies asleep but not in repose. The limbs are held stiffly and extend out past the base of support. The foundation is weak. The dancing shoes suggest a loss of connection to the earth .. avoidance. The bird sits confidently above the apparently suspended figure. It appears to threaten and the stance implies a disregard for the other. There is a disconnection between man and nature. There is a breakdown in knowledge about the other. The work is uneasy. There is tension between the two states of being.

'Its ok'

Julie Swan 2012
terracotta/wash/metal patina
h.90cm x w.38cm SOLD


The fourth work suggests some level of acceptance and knowing. When situations become so overwhelming that they are out of our scale of human comprehension, 'avoidance' is an understandable reaction. This figure is standing .. but slightly lopsided. Serenity cannot be achieved, there is no perfect balance. On first impression the figure is dressed in black leather and is bound by a constricting corset. The top hat defies traditional roles and makes a mockery of western capitalism. One gloved hand is held up to express 'shush' .. but the mask of pretence is on and reality is questioned. There is an uneasy reference to a supposed enlightenment. There is a mandala or wreath of flowers .. and the other hand is held up to suggest 'no fear'. It is only when you look behind the figure that some sense of beauty is perceived. The decay of form is replaced by an expression of something more.

'just being'

Julie Swan 2012
terracotta/wash/metal patina
h.100cm x w.42cm  SOLD


The fifth and final work in the mere-mene series for 2012 has perhaps arrived at some sense of acceptance and balance. This figure is connected to the earth. The fingers are confident and they reach down into the earth. This is a reference to the 'earth touching' mudra in Buddhism. The hat makes reference to those adornments worn by so many practitioners in the past who have sought to 'bring spirit down'. The face is serene. There are no embellishments, only the marks left by the artist's modelling tool. There is a sense that the masks of pretence and avoidance can be picked up and worn but it seems more likely that they will remain below. The work may be difficult to accept because there is no conclusion .. it is an enigma.

‘the late hour’

Julie Swan 2012

Terra-cotta/iron oxide/bronze patina

h.36cmxw.80cm SOLD


This sixth work for 2012 expresses a sense of ultimate acceptance…it is a ‘stepping stone’ towards the future.

This figurative work is based on my interpretation of the beautiful words by Mark Doty in his writing of ‘Bijou’ (The Inevitable)

Mark reminds us that when we place our ear against the chest of another, we are not only reminded of the frailty of the human body but also that time is always moving us on and towards an end. This realisation in ‘the late hour’ is shadowed by beauty.

The figure is released. The face is inclined forward with the last vestige of ego remaining. The body is ‘shell like’ and is as if it has been battered by the ocean waves and tides of eons.  Inside another figure is suggested.  It is neither male nor female .. one contour overlaps and unites with another in a timeless succession of learning experiences.